Check out the trail map
The Old Plank Road Trail is a 22-mile long paved rail-trail that connects the Illinois towns of Joliet, New
Lenox, Frankfort, Matteson, Richton Park, Park Forest, and Chicago Heights. Click here to go to the Old
Plank Road Trail (OPRT) map page.
New I-80 bridge for OPRT
MAY 2017 --The state of Illinois is installing a new bridge over Interstate 80 for the OPRT. The trail crosses I-
80 near OPRT milepost 17.
Thorn Creek Trail
The east end of the Old Plank Road Trail now connects with the Thorn Creek Trail system in Chicago
Heights. The new trail section connects with trails in the Cook County Forest Preserve District Sauk Trail
Woods preserve. Another section runs north and connects with the Brownell Woods sections of the Thorn
Get the Adobe Acrobat PDF map of Thorn Creek Trail from the Cook County Forest Preserve District.
Take a tour of the Old Plank Road Trail (OPRT) without leaving your computer. Click here to go to the photo
Park Forest Railfan Park
Dozens of north-south trains cross over the Old Plank Road Trail at Matteson while dozens more run east-west
on the former Elgin, Joliet and Eastern tracks that parallel the OPRT about a half mile to the south. The
Matteson METRA station platform is also a good train viewing location. Click here for more CN-Connection
info. Click here for pictures of some recent trains passing the Park Forest Railfan park.
Trail Patches are
Earn a patch for completing the 20-mile trail
in one trip or several smaller trips. Patches
are full color, embroidered, and 2.5 inches in
diameter, and ideal for sewing onto vests or
backpacks. Patches sell for $3.00 each and
come in two styles: hiking and cycling.
Payment is accepted by cash or check made
payable to the Forest Preserve District of
Get your Old Plank Road Trail
Sugar Creek Visitor
17540 W. Laraway Road (3/4-
mile east of Route 52) Joliet,
open Monday through Friday,
8:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. or call
A bald eagle was spotted in the
Dewey Helmick nature preserve
between Central Avenue and
Richland Avenue. It is also home to
egrets and herons.
There are beavers in Matteson east
of Cicero Avenue.
Early morning egrets and herons at the Dewey Helmick preserve
Bald eagle - click to zoom
Grey headed cone flower
Narrow leaf sunflower
Plants along the trail in July - click to enlarge